Fab by 40 – Establishing the Baseline

The first step in starting any weight training regimen is to establish a baseline. Numbers don’t lie, so the best way to ascertain results is to take before and after measurements. My weigh-in and measurements were supposed to be taken on 1 July but my trainer Wandi was down with flu so we started my quest to be Fab by 40 officially on 4 Jul, American’s Independence Day! I think it is a good omen.

Unfortunately, the weighing scale and body fat analyser didn’t think so. The numbers they showed me were bad news!

Came to SAFRA Jurong to take my measurements as the EnergyOne gym here has a body fat analyser.

In order to track the effectiveness of personal training, we took a comprehensive set of measurements from weight to waist to body fat and running the metrics around my chest, biceps, thighs and calves. It was the first time I knew the size of my body parts… except that which shall not be named here. LOL.

So what are my numbers from top to bottom, outside and in?

Taking my weight on a balance scale. These scales are usually preferred by the medical profession over spring (aka bathroom scale) or digital scale for their reliability to provide accurate readings. Spring scales need frequent calibration as the spring mechanism loses its sensitivity over time and microchips in digital scales could malfunction and tell an elephant it has the weight of a feather.

The moment of (ugly) truth. My weight is 70.6kg! The last time I weighed myself about 3 months ago, I was 68kg. The extra kilos must’ve been from my recent spike in travel-linked gluttony.

I’ve put on almost 3 kilos in just a few short months but because my weight was taken by different scales between the last measurement and this one, I’m taking today’s reading with a pinch of salt.

Next, we measured my body fat via bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). Body fat is the amount of fat inside the body and organs so even a very skinny person can have a high amount of body fat.

My body fat is a staggering 26.4%!!! That’s in the very high range for men! I totally wasn’t prepared for this revelation. I redid the analysis 2 more times, and even got Wandi to do it to make sure the machine isn’t spoilt. I’ve done this body fat analytic test about 10 years ago and if I recall correctly, my reading back then was 15%.

Although this is a wake-up call, the accuracy of BIA is rather unstable as many factors such as water and food intake prior to measurement can impact a reading greatly. I had a bowl of seafood soup and rice an hour before coming for the measurements so maybe that affected my readings. Okay, I admit, I’m looking for excuses to make myself feel better about this awfully unbelieveable percentage!

Following the machines, we used the good ‘ol measuring tape to size up my chest, biceps, thighs and calves. These measurements are my baseline and hopefully, no, I MUST, increase muscle size and shrink my waist (34 inches! *gasp*)! Time to turn on the beast mode at the gym!!!

Small molehill compared to Arnold’s mountains. My body is showing and feeling the effects of age but I’m not going to go down without a fight!

The above photo of my physique is a shadow of my former bod with a visible loss in bulk, tone and definitions. But if you think all this talk about personal training and bodybuilding is an exercise of vanity, well, it is not. I’m anxious to pack on the muscles because as we age, we lose muscle mass.

How my bod looked in 2006 (age 32). Not magazine-cover worthy, but compared to my current state, it’s much leaner with better muscle tone. This shall be my target to reach and exceed with SAFRA EnergyOne’s personal training! But I achieve it in 6 months?

Research suggests that we start losing muscle mass from as early as in our mid-twenties; losing about 1 – 2% every year up to 50% over our lifetime. This age-related muscle loss is known as Sarcopenia and the rate of loss accelerates after 50. With the loss of muscles, we’ll lose strength to the point that daily activities such as getting up from a chair or climbing a flight of stairs may be hampered.

Strength training has been found to be effective in slowing down the onset of sarcopenia or may even reverse the effects. So building a muscular body is like constantly adding money to a bank account. You’ll never run out of funds no matter how many withdrawals you make. The more muscular you are, the longer you can enjoy doing the things you love!

Check with EnergyOne on how you can start building a more muscular body!

Disclaimer : Information presented in this blog post has been gathered from publications and expert sources online. The opinions expressed here do not represent medical advice. Before starting any rigourous exercise regimen, consult your doctor for suitability.

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